The calendar below, created by Dr. Peter Yuichi Clark, is an excellent way to keep on top of religious high holy days and festivals as they go by. It is especially useful for those in interfaith vocations who need this information on a day-to-day basis.
TIO is cooperating with another “working” religious calendar project being led by Read the Spirit. It extends what we usually mean by religious calendar to include important civic holidays. It identifies major religious holidays more than a year in advance. Most important, it features stories about what these many religious festival events are all about – what they mean, the important stories, the food associated, and how particular events are celebrated. Your own stories of religious holidays, whatever your tradition, are welcomed at the site. Check it out!
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For Native Americans, July marks the season of the Mountain Spirit Dances for the Mescalero Apache people of New Mexico; the Hopi Snake Dances, marking a sixteen-day ritual of purification; the Green Corn Ceremony or Stomp Dance, performed by Seminole and other Oklahoma tribes as a time of renewal and purification; and the Sun Dance, observed by Plains peoples (Arapaho, Cheyenne, Shoshone, Arikara, Crow, Sioux, and others) as a time of penitence and sacrifice. It is also known as Xmaay, the season of big berries when summer fruit is ripe for harvesting.
Wednesday, July 15
A day when Buddhists make offerings to the Triple Gem – the Buddha, the Dharma [teachings], and the Sangha [monastic community] – on behalf of their ancestors.
Thursday, July 16
Eid al-Fitr – Islam
This is the Breaking of the Fast that celebrates the end of the month of Ramadān. Usually lasting three days, this festival begins with communal prayer and may also include charitable acts, visiting family and friends, preparing special foods, dressing in new clothes, and giving gifts.
Wednesday, July 22
Feast of St. Mary Magdalene – Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran Christian churches
Also known as the Penitent, Mary Magdalene is celebrated as one of Jesus’ earliest and most faithful disciples, after being healed by him. She is also recognized as a witness to Jesus’ death and the first recorded witness of his resurrection on Easter.
Thursday, July 23
Birthday of Emperor Haile Salassi I – Rastafari
Celebrating the birth of Ras [prince or chief] Tafari Makonnen (1892 – 1975 C.E.), who ruled as Emperor of Ethiopia from 1916 to 1974 (officially from 1930 to 1974), and who is professed by faithful Rasta believers as God incarnate.
Birthday of Gurū Har Krishan Sahib Ji – Sikhism
Marking the birth of the 8th and youngest of the 11 Sikh Gurūs (1656 – 1664 C.E.) in the Nanakshahi calendar
Friday, July 24
Pioneer Day – Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Celebrated annually as the anniversary of the entry of LDS pioneers into the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, in Utah in 1847 C.E., after a historic trek across 1,300 miles of wilderness.
Khordad Sal – Zoroastrianism
The birth anniversary of the prophet Zarathustra (Zoroaster), according to the Qadimi calendar
Saturday, July 25
Tisha B’Av – Judaism
A solemn day of mourning and fasting for the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, as well as other tragedies in Jewish history coinciding with this date, beginning at sundown.
Monday, July 27
Chaturmas – Hinduism and Jainism
This day marks the beginning of a four-month period (ending in November) during which time devotees observe some form of vow. Penance, fasting, and other religious observances mark this period. It is considered an inauspicious time for weddings or thread ceremonies.
Thursday, July 30
Oharai-taisai – Shinto
A purification ceremony to cleanse believers from offenses committed during the first half of the year. A large ring of woven grasses and reeds is placed at the entrance to Shinto shrines, and people walk through the ring as a symbol of inner purification.
Friday, July 31
Gurū Purnima – Hinduism
This day celebrates the ancient Hindu sage Krishna Dvaipayana, also known as Veda Vyāsa, who is credited as the compiler of the sacred Vedas, the author of the Eighteen Puranas (supplementary texts), and credited with writing the Sanskrit epic Mahābhārata. The term “gurū” refers to a teacher or remover of darkness. Buddhists also mark this day as an opportunity to thank their teachers.
Saturday, August 1
Lammas/Lughnasadh – Wiccan
Pagan Corn harvest. Pagans reap what they have sown, celebrate the fruits of the mystery of Nature and give thanks for the bounty of the Goddess as Queen of the Land.
Thursday, August 6
The Transfiguration – Christian
Commemorates the time when three disciples saw Jesus trans-figured talking with Moses and Elijah, and heard a voice saying “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.” For many Christians this confirms the divine nature of Jesus.
Saturday, August 8-17
Farvardigan/Muktad – Shenshai, Parsi, Zoroastrian
Muktad (all souls) are remembered during the last ten days of the year. Fravashis (souls of the departed) are welcomed and entertained. The five Gathas, ymns composed by Zarathustra, are recited on the last five Gathas days
Thursday, August 13-15
O-Bon – Japanese
O-BON Japanese The spirits of the departed are welcomed back home with feasting and dancing. Fires are often lit to illuminate their arrival and departure.
If you want more information about any of these holy days, please contact UCSF Medical Center Spiritual Care Services at 415-353-1941415-353-1941 (Rev. Dr. Peter Yuichi Clark)
Our thanks to the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, the Multifaith Action Society of British Columbia (Canada), BBC’s Religion Website, Peel Schools District Board (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada), the Arizona State University Provost’s Office, the NCCJ of the Piedmont Triad, and www.interfaithcalendar.org
To subscribe to this calendar and sync it with your Google, Outlook, or iCal calendars, visit http://ucsfspiritcare.org and select the “Resources” menu